Wexit movement 'entirely counterproductive' says former MP Ralph Goodale

Former Liberal cabinet minister Ralph Goodale says the Wexit movement, a western separatist movement, is "entirely counterproductive".

Goodale served as MP for the Regina-Wascana riding on and off since 1974, until Conservative Micahel Kram won the seat in last year's federal election.

Goodale's loss left Saskatchewan without a single Liberal MP in parliament.

This weekend, Wexit Canada was granted eligibility by Elections Canada to run in the next federal election.

"Well I think quite frankly it's entirely counterproductive." Goodale said, "It leads people to have great and furious arguments, it leads to divisions being created and it takes people down a counterproductive rabbit hole."

Goodale said the consequences of Wexit would be devastating for a province like Saskatchewan.

"We would lose, right off the top for example, $1.7 billion in transfer payments that come into Saskatchewan because of the Government of Canada, we would lose things like the RCMP training depot at Regina, that would be gone." Goodale said, "That's $40 million every year into the economy of Regina and southern Saskatchewan."

Goodale said that while Wexit is a negative proposition, it is important for the federal government to understand why the western provinces may feel alienated from the rest of the country and deal with the root causes.

'Getting the pipeline done is exceedingly important'

Goodale said that in order for the Government to strengthen their relationship with Alberta and Saskatchewan, the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion, or TMX, must be properly and efficiently treated on time. 

"The Government of Canada is working to make sure that that happens within the parameters of all of the court decisions ... moving forward." Goodale said.

Goodale said during the last election, two-thirds of Canadians voted "very clearly" for more action on climate change including pollution pricing.

"That's a very strong percentage of the population, at the same time another two-thirds of Canadians voted in favor of the TMX pipeline ...so the Government of Canada has to bring those things together to make progress on both simultaneously," he said.

"It's going to take a lot of creative effort, it's going to take a lot of hard work and understanding on both sides of the equation."